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Teleclub, Cablecom In Swiss Decoder Dispute

By | July 3, 2002

      A dispute over decoder technology and subscriber management control has broken out in Switzerland, further delaying the national cable roll-out of the digital platform that pay-TV broadcaster Teleclub launched on May 1. Cablecom, the country’s largest cable operator, still refuses to carry Teleclub’s digital package, despite the broadcaster’s decision not to provide its subscribers with the controversial d-box and its accompanying encryption system Betacrypt, and to opt instead to use Nagravision, the conditional access system selected by SwissCable, the umbrella organisation of the Swiss cable operators.

      According to Teleclub, the reason for the carriage refusal is the broadcaster’s plan to provide subscribers with its own Nagravision set-top boxes at no charge and keep the subscriber management services in its own hands. Furthermore, Teleclub doesn’t want its bouquet to be commercialised as part of Cablecom’s own digital platform SwissFun, but remain independent, all of which is opposed by Cablecom. “The acceptance of Cablecom’s demands would lead to an increase in our subscription fees,” noted Teleclub.

      Teleclub said it would lose its customer relationship if subscriber management services were taken over by Cablecom. “We would no longer have any influence regarding how our subscribers are treated.” According to Teleclub, the cable company’s attitude “is a clear violation of competition rules.” The pay-TV broadcaster said that it has already notified the regulatory authorities and expects a decision to be made in a few weeks.

      –Jorn Krieger

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